Insightful post by J. D. Greear and college worker, Rupert Leary, at the Gospel Coalition on "9 Keys to Reaching College Students."
After recently meeting with the campus staff who attend our church (for a time of evaluation of our ministry), we found much overlap with this points:
We learned the following nine lessons along the way as our college ministry grew and flourished in an area that features many prominent universities.
1. Whatever you do, don't shy away from depth.
2. Preach the gospel.
3. Love on display is often the most effective apologetic.
4. Remember that we live in the Bono generation.
5. Lift their eyes to the nations.
6. Aggressively develop summer projects and overseas opportunities.
7. One-on-one meetings and small groups are often more effective for evangelism than large gatherings.
8. Providing multigenerational connections within the church is essential to discipleship.
9. Cultural adaptation is important, though not essential.
Why do churches hold on to the cultural mores and styles of previous generations if they are trying to reach this one? We can't make the gospel more attractive through our "coolness," but let's face it: if the 1950s ever come back, many of our churches are going to be ready. That said, ultimately the appeal of the church has more to do with its timelessness than its trendiness. The essential element is not a cool pastor or loud music but an authentic message.
Traditionalism is a killer not because it is "uncool" but because it is a counterfeit of the gospel. Some churches that are very effective in engaging students have more of the ancient, reverent feel than a vibrant, energetic one. Our church has more of a modern feel, but we think the gospel's power can reign in both settings. We would encourage you to lay all cultural elements of your church at the feet of Jesus and ask him to show you how to prioritize the mission over preference. Every effective missionary in every culture has thought this way. God help us if we value our cultural traditions more than our children!
There is no magic bullet for reaching students, but we hope these timeless values will help spur you to expect great things of God for this generation, and then attempt great things for God in it.
Complete post here.